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Introduced 1985
TLD type Sponsored top-level domain
Status Active
Registry Educause (operated by VeriSign)
Sponsor Educause
Intended use Educational institutions
Actual use Accredited post-secondary institutions, almost entirely within the United States of America
Registration restrictions Must be accredited by an agency on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally recognized accrediting agencies. Some older registrations are grandfathered.
Structure Registrations at second level permitted
Documents RFC 920; RFC 1591; US Department of Commerce agreement
Dispute policies Educause may revoke registrations if policy provisions are violated.
Website edu Home Page

The domain name edu is a sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) in the Domain Name System of the Internet. Its name is derived from education, indicating its intended use as a name space for educational institutions, primarily those in the United States.[1] Although not officially mandated for much of the domain's existence, in practice it has been used primarily for U.S.-based four-year universities. Starting in 2001, it was officially restricted to accredited post-secondary institutions and organizations that are accredited by nationally recognized accrediting agencies.



Created in January 1985 as one of the first top-level domains[2] (the other five being com, gov, mil, net and org). edu was originally intended for educational institutions anywhere in the world. On April 24, 1985,,,,, and became the first six registered domain names. With few exceptions, however, only educational institutions in the United States registered such domains, while institutions in other countries usually used domain names under the appropriate country code TLD. In some countries a second-level domain is used to indicate an educational institutions (e.g., in Mexico, in China, in Australia, and and in the United Kingdom) and in others only the country code is used (e.g., in Canada, Germany and France). In Germany, the second-level domain often has a prefix indicating the kind of institution (uni for Universität, fh for Fachhochschule, for instance and or, if there are several institutions of the same type, the abbreviation of the institutions name (for instance, and for the three Berlin universities).

Examples of non-US edu domains are: the French "International Space University", the French, the Belgian, the German, the Canadian, the Swedish, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Kosovo, the Indian, the Thai or the Slovenian Many institutions whose primary sites are located in local second-level domains run mirror sites in the edu domain, such as mirroring, mirroring, mirroring, mirroring or mirroring


Starting on October 29, 2001, only post-secondary institutions and organizations that are accredited by an agency on the U.S. Department of Education's list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies are eligible to apply for a edu domain.[3] Most such agencies accredit only US institutions, so very few non-US institutions qualify, and edu remains almost exclusively a top-level domain of the United States.

As the domain was traditionally used for four-year universities, the new policy also allowed two-year colleges (e.g. community colleges), which had previously used other domains, to register. Many organizations took advantage of this and officially switched to edu domains. A notable case was the California Community Colleges System, whose members had previously masked their domains with .org or .net but were officially located at vestigial hierarchical domains such as (representing San Joaquin Delta Community College District, a Community College in California, United States). This then became simply

The current eligibility requirements apply only to new applicants. Numerous other institutions retain edu domain delegations that were obtained before the current rules came into force, including K-12 public school districts, individual public and private K-12 schools in the United States (e.g.,, registered in 1992), universities and schools located outside the United States, and unaccredited institutions.

A post-2001 non-accredited school that managed to obtain a edu extension is George Wythe University.[citation needed]

Other uses

A few of the existing edu domain registrants are not schools; often these are established museums or have some connection to education and research, others are simply protected due to a grandfathering clause of pre-2000 registrations (even though some never qualified under the registration requirements of the time). Networking site for researchers Private site Robert Allison Adison U "Liberal arts resources." ??? A commercial site. Private site Daniel Lees A commercial site. American World University Unacredited Online University. Brookings Institution A research and policy institute. Chalcedon Foundation According to its official site, it is a "Christian educational organization devoted to research, publishing, and promoting Christian reconstruction in all areas of life." Catholic Healthcare West Redirects to a hospital's web site. Central Texas Medical Foundation A medical site. Educause The edu registry itself, as "a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology". University of Phoenix Advertising front for the University of Phoenix, billing itself as "your one-stop guide to online colleges, online courses, online degrees". A commercial site. Exploratorium A science museum in San Francisco, California. Franklin Institute Science Museum A museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Five Colleges, Inc. A consortium of five institutions of higher education in Massachusetts: not a conventional university. Folger Shakespeare Library A library in Washington, D.C.. J. Paul Getty Trust An international cultural and philanthropic organization in Los Angeles, California. Institutes of Medicine An academy associated with the National Academy of Sciences. Private site No content. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy A non-profit research institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts that studies the use, regulation, and taxation of land. Private site No content. National Research Council government science policy advisors. OhioLINK Ohio library consortium OMSI A science museum in Portland, Oregon. Online photography classes Blog directory Smithsonian Institution A national museum ("America's national educational facility"). Southwest Research Institute A nonprofit applied research and development organization in San Antonio, Texas Space Telescope Science Institute The organization that selects the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope. Education Worlds A commercial site. A commercial site.


Educause is the authoritative registry provider for edu, and is also its exclusive registrar as edu is a closed system. The applying institution must apply directly to Educause and show proof of their accreditation, and only then will they be given a domain name. While Educause is a non-profit agency, it does charge an annual fee for each domain name. All of the money that is made from these fees goes into the costs of maintaining the infrastructure for edu. Educause, as the sole registrar, resolves domain name disputes and all other policy matters for edu. Ultimate authority for edu rests with the US Department of Commerce. As far as the actual technical administration, Educause directly runs and maintains the technical components for the registrar and registration portion of the operation in-house, but they contract out the operation of the registry nameservers for the domain, currently, to VeriSign's Registry hosting services.

Other education oriented domains

Many countries have implemented special subdomains within their designated country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the use by educational entities. These domains have varying eligibility requirements. In some countries, the edu second-level domain is an ordinary domain with no special significance; in others it has been issued to a local departments of education or has been deliberately reserved and not issued to anyone to prevent confusion.

See also


  1. ^ EDUcause: Eligibility for the EDU Domain
  2. ^ RFC 920, Domain Requirements, J. Postel, J. Reynolds, The Internet Society (October 1984)
  3. ^ "Eligibility for the edu Domain FAQ". 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:


See also edu



Pronounced as "dot-e-d-u".



  1. (Internet) An Internet TLD indicating that a website is used by an educational institution.


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